It was 5am on a Saturday morning. Normally my alarm going off at that time would be very unwelcome - but not today - we were going on a special trip!
In July 2018, I had contacted Nikki because my husband and I wanted to book a short break to Disneyland Paris. I was four months pregnant at the time with our third son. We have twin boys who were turning six in the October which happened to fall in the half term week and we wanted to book a surprise getaway for them before the baby arrived.
I left the details in Nikki’s hands because I didn’t know much about Disneyland Paris and having booked things through her before, I fully trusted her to guide us on it.
The only thing we were really hoping for was to be able to fly there because the boys had never been on a plane before.
Nikki was fantastic - she sorted a brilliant deal for us and was very efficient. Her expert knowledge and friendly approach made the whole process even more exciting for us. We couldn’t wait to surprise the boys!
On 19 October, we made our way to Gatwick Airport. We had booked a hotel for that night because we had an early morning flight for the next day. We said to the boys we were having a night in a hotel to celebrate their birthday but luckily they didn’t really seem to notice that there were planes flying over!
When my alarm went off my husband and I quickly got ready and then it was time to surprise the boys. We gently woke them and said we had a surprise for them. I handed them t-shirts that their auntie had had printed with their names on and ‘Disneyland Paris 2018’.
They couldn’t believe it and it didn’t take long for them to wake up - it was probably the only time they’ve got dressed and ready without too much prompting!
Going on an airplane was so much fun for them and added to the experience. We flew to Paris airport and from there got the coach, which stopped at the Disney hotels, which was included in our booking. After we found the coach station (which took us a while as it wasn’t very well signposted), it was a very easy process and wasn’t long before we reached our hotel - the Sequoia Lodge.
This hotel is around a 15 minute walk from the parks and is Bambi themed. It was amazing: great decor, restaurants serving tasty food, a fantastic view of the lake and even a swimming pool for guests to enjoy. We had a half board deal which meant we could have breakfast which included pastries, rolls and juice/ a hot drink and then could have either lunch or dinner in our hotel restaurant or one of the participating restaurants.
Once we had settled into our room, we headed out to the parks. Both my husband and I had been as children but couldn’t remember it very well and hadn’t stayed in a Disney hotel. I’d only been on a day trip. However, I have been on holiday to Disneyworld Florida as a child and I was expecting to feel slightly underwhelmed in comparison but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
We had a fun filled day exploring the main Disneyland park and Walt Disney Studios. Despite it being October, it was warm and sunny. Because I was pregnant, we had a pass that meant we could book places on a ride and come back at the allotted time and although you could only book one at a time, it cut some of the queue times which was good for my swollen feet!
The queues for food were very long but we ended up managing to grab a burger at one of the fast food restaurants for lunch.
After a day of rides and meeting characters, we went back to our hotel for a swim. The pool was a short, picturesque walk away from the main hotel and didn’t disappoint. There were flumes for the boys to enjoy, the water was warm and it was clean and well managed.
We then went for a buffet dinner in the hotel as part of our half board deal. There was a lot of choice which was great for us because one of our children has sensory processing difficulties which means he is very specific about what he will and won’t eat. There was something for everyone and we all left with full tummies and were exhausted after an action packed day.
The next morning we had our breakfast in the bar in the hotel and then went off to the park. We explored the Walt Disney Studios a bit more and watched a car stunt show which was fantastic and had us all on the edge of our seats! We did more of the rides we’d missed the day before and had lunch in the Rainforest Cafe which had a brilliant atmosphere and the food was delicious.
That evening, we’d booked the Buffalo Bill meal and show (also arranged by Nikki). It’s based in the Disney Village shopping district with the other restaurants and shops which is located just before the entrances to the parks.
This was something my husband remembered doing as a child so he was excited for the boys to experience it too! It was very good fun - a Wild West themed show with people dressed up as cowboys and cowgirls, performing stunts on horses/ singing, etc, whilst we had our dinner and drinks brought round to us by friendly staff.
The food was in keeping with the Wild West theme - chilli con carne, cornbread, chicken on the bone, etc, and each course was brought to our bench whilst we enjoyed the show. They also came round frequently topping up our drinks. We were allowed to keep our straw hats as souvenirs of a great evening.
Then we watched the fireworks at the main park. It was very crowded as expected but well worth doing - it was so atmospheric and a great way to end our last night!
The following morning we were exhausted after a couple of mega busy days but went back to the park to go on a few more rides and also to look at the shops.
Our flight was late afternoon so we had another great day and then got our transfer to the airport. The flight home was spent chatting about our wonderful adventure and how much fun we’d had!
We had the best time, it exceeded all of our expectations and we made very special memories that we will never forget.
I would highly recommend the hotel we stayed in and I would happily stay there again. All the staff we spoke to at the hotel and the parks seemed happy and keen to help which added to the friendly atmosphere. They also spoke English which we were grateful for.
The journey was straightforward and Nikki arranged everything we needed to ensure it was a smooth, stress free trip. She really is the very best at what she does and I frequently recommend her to people looking to book a holiday or break.
If I were to nitpick I would say that the queues can be long and it is very expensive in the restaurants/ shops out there. However, we were fully prepared for that and ensured we brought enough spending money to explore everything we wanted to without worrying. We accepted beforehand that we would be spending more than usual and the extra money was well worth spending because it was a special treat. We were also prepared to queue and knew that would be time consuming but we took it in our stride.
If we were to do anything differently, it would be to book for an extra night or two! We’d also consider going on the Eurostar next time for ease but we were so happy our boys got to experience going on an airplane for the first time so that was definitely the right form of travel for us for that trip.
Now that our third little boy is nearly two, we have talked about taking them all back one day because we know he’d love it too! Hopefully it won’t be long until we can book another amazing trip and I will definitely book it through Nikki.
It really was a trip filled with magic and we have the most special memories from our weekend away. I would highly recommend it for a fun, family break!